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Polywell Poly Server Station 890

Coupled with WinFast DVD software, the DVD-ROM drive plays DVDs well. But if you're more interested in editing video than watching movies, we'd recommend replacing the DVD-ROM drive with the optional Panasonic DVD-RAM/DVD-R combo drive and adding an IEEE 1394 (FireWire) adapter with Pinnacle System Studio DV software (or even the upscale Matrox RT2500 video-editing kit). The audio subsystem, composed of a Sound Blaster Live card and a three-piece Cambridge SoundWorks PCWorks speaker system, is perfectly adequate for a graphics workstation.

The ServerStation configuration doesn't include a monitor. You can choose from several display options, ranging from a 19-inch Optiquest Q95 at the low end to a 22-inch ViewSonic flat-square tube model. For graphics and video work, we recommend the 19-inch ViewSonic PF790 or the 22-inch ViewSonic P220F.

Its huge, brushed-aluminum tower provides gobs of expansion room. Even with six drives already installed, four accessible 5.25-inch bays remain available. If you need more, you can remove the five-port USB panel installed in one of the accessible 3.5-inch bays, and you'll still have two USB ports at the rear panel. Three 64-bit PCI slots also await your upgrade pleasure, and the ServerStation's 460-watt power supply should be able to handle almost anything you could throw at it.

On the downside, Polywell's basic warranty doesn't match this class of system. It includes five-year depot labor, three-year parts, and one-year 24/7 third-party toll-free phone support. However, you can upgrade to onsite service for $75 per year for a maximum of five years.

The bottom line

A plethora of configuration options make it possible for you to turn the ServerStation 890T into the workstation of your dreams.